Local student shines in state wide Reconcilliation project (Art competition)
Merimbula Public Schoo lstudents have participated in a reconciliation themed project timed for launch during Reconciliation Week 2012. The project, run by the NSW Reconciliation Council, encourages students to creatively express their ideas about reconciliation. An exhibition launch of thirty-six winning pieces was attended by hundreds in Sydney on Friday night to herald in National Reconciliation Week (27 May- 3 June).
MerimbulaPublic Schoo lyear 6 student, Melia placed third in her age group. Melia's achievement is no mean feat as there were close to 1000 entries this year from across the state; from which only 12 winners and 18 Highly Commended places were chosen.
Melia's artwork will be framed and exhibited at the Australian Museum from the 25thMay to August 2012, and pending a possible tour of NSW will afterwards be returned to her.
Melia's family won a return flight to Sydney and accommodation to attend the award ceremony and the opening of the exhibition at the Australian Museum.
This year's theme was 'Our Place'. Students who entered were asked to address both reconciliation and Our Placein their artworks. Children discussed that 'Our Place' can mean many things such as might be a place that is local, the Land as in the greater environment; it could be philosophical or challenging the concept of possession.
Melia's painting: Title "Together Forever" Melia produced a coloured artwork using paint which depicted two girls standing together on the beach holding hands and looking out to sea.
"My Teacher, Ms Kimpton, inspired my work. When we discussed the theme "Our Place" it made me think of what that really means. I painted two young girls together at the seaside holding hands and watching the waves of the sea. They represent me and my friend Naliga. We will be friends forever."
Leanne Townsend, CEO NSW Reconciliation Council, said "The response we received from young people around NSW was unprecedented. Such engagement in reconciliation is a positive indicator of improving relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people at the grassroots level."
"Using the theme Our Place, young people explored reconciliation in a highly mature way. Art about the Stolen Generations, current government policies and the need for respectful relationships demonstrate that youth engagement in reconciliation is very much alive." Ms Townsend said.
Selected artwork in the Schools Reconciliation Challenge hails from more than 100 schools across NSW, including coastal regions such as Merimbula to regional towns such as Bourke.
Teacher Terri Kimpton, from Merimbula Public School said that their work "Was of an exception standard this year due to the students' enthusiasm for this project".
"As we have seen through the work of young people this year, youth are leading the way in the fields of social justice and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, as well as reconciliation on a personal level." Ms Townsend said.
The number of events held in Australia this year to celebrate Reconciliation Week has increased, demonstrating renewed interest in reconciliation by Australians. With an upcoming referendum about Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, the groundswell of community support for improved relationships is a positive thing.
An exhibition of winning works will remain on show at the Australian Museum until August, and is free to view.
To find out about more Reconciliation Week events happening this year or for more information visit the NSW Reconciliation Council website: www.nswreconciliation.org.au
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